Sunday, January 19, 2014

Popsugar Must Have - January 2014

Getting my Popsugar box is usually one of the most exciting parts of my month! So needless to say, I was super excited to find it on my porch yesterday.

The Popsugar Must Have box is a little different than most of my subs. It isn't just a beauty actually offers a little bit of everything! The boxes contain Popsugar's must have items in categories like beauty, fashion, food, and home! I've gotten everything in these boxes from jewelry, scarves, makeup, chocolate, wrapping paper,'s always a fun variety and always things I am excited to try.

The included booklet tells me that this box is designed to help you check off your thoughtful resolutions. I love their booklet because it always tells why they chose the items, which often makes me appreciate them more!

This month's box is packed nice and full! We received six items. I appreciate that Popsugar always sends a variety of full sized items. Here's what we received for January!

Must Have Food

 Pipsnacks White Truffle Pipcorn - Pipcorn is mini popcorn. The kernels themselves are small and bite-sized! The bag, however, is nice and large. This popcorn is delicious! It is flavored with white truffle, and in just the right adds a bit of amazing flavor, but is not overwhelming! I love that the ingredients are so simple - just popcorn, olive oil, truffle, and salt. Awesome! I have never tried truffle on popcorn before, and I am really glad I got the chance's delicious! The small size of the kernels makes it super easy to eat, as well.
The Juice Generation book - This is a great book that introduces you to juicing. It has 100 recipes for juices and smoothies, and also just a lot of information on the benefits of juicing, as well as how to combine fruits and veggies for maximum benefit. It's a beautiful book! I don't have a juicer, but I am definitely interested in incorporating more of these things into my life.

Must Have Beauty

Revlon by Marchesa Box o' Files - This is just a box of pretty little nail files. They're dual sided to shape and smooth the nail...but more importantly, the print on them is just beautiful! I can always use nail files, and I'll be happy to keep these in my bag and whip them out in public. So cute!

Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask - This is a foaming gel mask that uses antioxidants and vitamils to cleans pores, hydrate, and brighten. I love this brand, and I was SO excited to get this mask! I tried it, and it is amazing and different from any mask I've ever tried! It really does bubble and foam on your much that it tickles a bit! It left my skin feeling nice and bright and fresh...I will be adding this to my regular mask rotation. Love it!

 Must Have Home

Rifle Paper Co. 2014 Flip Around the World Calendar - This is a desk/flip calendar featuring adorable illustrations of various international cities. I adore this! I love the style and quality of it! I will use it as my desk calendar for the year, then next year, I'll use it to make super cute greeting cards. I do wish the section with the actual calendar was large enough to write on, but no worries, it's still adorable and functional for me.

Must Have Fashion 

Jack + Lucy Tech Gloves - These are cozy gloves that allow you to still use your smartphone or other touchscreen device while wearing them. I so needed these...I was relying on the fold-back kind, which work but when you fold them back, your fingers FREEZE. I live in Indiana, so I need to keep my fingers covered in the winter! These are simple, dark gray with black tips on the "tech" fingers. They will match all of my coats and jackets. They are thick enough to be warm, but not so thick as to be bulky or to be unsuitable for chilly fall or spring days. I'm excited to get them!

Overall, I think this is a really nice box! I love the variety of items, and the mask, calendar, and gloves have already gone into regular use! There is not a dud item in this box. I am excited to see what we'll get for February!

I have consistently been happy with my Popsugar boxes so far and when my sub runs out, I will definitely consider continuing my subscription as a birthday gift to myself! What do you think of these items?

If you haven't tried Popsugar yet, feel free to sign up using my referral link!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag - January 2014

I'm a makeup hoarder, and everyone knows it! My collection is constantly outgrowing my tiny bedroom and I have more than I can hope to use up anytime in the forseeable future. Regardless, I want more, more, more!

Ipsy has been known as primarily a makeup sub. Most months, they send out mostly makeup items with skin and haircare thrown in from time to time. And I love it for this! However, sometimes I start to get a little overwhelmed, especially when deciding what in my stash to use. So when I saw in Ipsy's spoilers that this month would be heavy on the skincare, haircare, and only a bit of makeup, I was actually excited!

The theme for January is "19 Reasons", referring to the items they are sending out as the 19 reasons that 2014 will be great...which is kind of funny because they actually ended up sending out 20 products instead of 19. (To me, the Proactiv item is NOT a reason, so it still make sense. 19 reasons and 1 regret. That is MY version of this month's theme!)

I was happy to see my bag show up in the mail. Here's what I got in my first bag for the year!

Okay, the bag itself is not so cute this month. The colors are okay, but the design just isn't my style. I would use it to organize my skincare samples, but this bag REEKS. It smells like gasoline had a baby with a pool toy. I've tried airing it out to no avail, so it's probably going into the trash. Also, one of my items leaked all over it, so the back side is stained. I was going to try to get the stain out, but since it smells like satan's chemical-laden butthole, I am not going to bother.

Proactiv Mark Fading Pads -NOOOOOO. When I saw all of the items being sent out, this is the one thing I prayed I wouldn't get. Of course I got them. I am sad. These will be going nowhere near my face, as I like my skin to NOT be beef jerky, thank you. These promise to fade dark spots and discoloration. Well, even if I was going to use them, 4 pads is not enough to really make a difference...even the directions say to allow 5 uses before you start to see results.  I'm not a brand snob by any means, but...really, Ipsy? Party foul. Maybe they can fade the dark spots in my trash can. Goodbye.

Malin + Goetz mojito lip balm - This is a soothing gel balm that promises to replenish and restore lips. I actually like this! I usually try to stick to more natural balms with organic ingredients, but I will use this one up. The ingredients are long scary sounding words, but at least it is free of petroleum and parabens! It has a nice glossy finish and the scent/flavor is very light and not overpowering. This is probably my favorite item in this month's bag! I won't rebuy it, but I will happily use it.

Elizabeth Mott Smooth Shadow pencil in Penny - This is smooth gel eye pencil in a shimmery goldish copper shade. It is marketed as a shadow pencil, but it is thin (the same size as a standard eye pencil) and since I have a lot of eyelid space to cover, I'll probably use it primarily as a liner! It does glide on nice and smooth. It can be subtle, but it is easily buildable. I'm actually really happy with the texture of this! I love the way it looks on the waterline, and it will also be a very pretty inner corner highlight.

Here's a swatch of the liner on skin. It is a gorgeous shimmering copper.

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! deep conditioning hair mask - This is a hair mask that promises to treat and repair dry, damaged hair. It contains avocado, sweet almond, and argan oils, as well as keratin, biotin, aloe, and vitamins! I'm working on babying my hair back to health after years of color treating, so this is beyond welcome. It smells great and I'm excited to see how it works.

Faith Aromatherapy Tahitian Monoi Anti-Aging Sugar Scrub - This is a sugar scrub for the body that promises to smooth, moisturize, and brighten skin. This is the item that leaked all over my bag, so it's a bit dried out. However, it smells very good. I love sugar scrubs and use them often. I am excited to try this one, though I'll need to add some oil to it before I do. The brand seems really great, and the ingredients are simple and fantastic.

Overall, this is a decent bag. I love everything but the god-forsaken Proactiv! I am excited to pamper my hair and skin and hopefully find two new great brands to support.

What was in your Ipsy bag this month?

Beauty Bar Sample Society - January 2014

Sample Society is a strange sub for me. I've signed up for it several times, after seeing things that had been sent out and drooling over them, gotten a box or two each time, and then canceled because once in my hand, the boxes haven't excited me.

I decided to give them another try this month after I saw the spoiler (which was Butter LONDON nail fertilizer or cuticle oil). My box showed up a few days ago, and I was excited to see if this was the box that would finally keep me hooked!

I've always enjoyed their sleek black and silver packaging. The boxes are really great for organizing samples and small items. Inside, the info card tells me that the theme this month is "Take Care", and it's all about post-holiday TLC and pampering. Having worked the holidays and been through the snow storm from hell, I could definitely use the pampering right now! Here's what I received!

butter LONDON Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil - This is a vitamin rich oil that promises to keep the nails and cuticles moisturized and healthy. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to get this. Don't get me wrong, it looks like an amazing product! But, I have several cuticle oils already, and I was really hoping for the Horsepower Nail Fertilizer. My biggest hand issue is weak, thin, peeling nails and I was hoping for that to help them out. However, this will be used or gifted and it is an amazing inclusion for a subscription box! 

 Fekkai Advanced Glossing Shampoo - This is a shampoo infused with olive oil that promises to enhance shine and strengthen the hair. I have actually used a sample of this shampoo before and liked it! It did tame my frizz and flyaways and leave my hair nice and shiny. I really hate when subs send shampoos without the coordinating conditioner, though...I just don't think you really try out the full effects when you receive only one or the other. I will eventually use this, but I am going to need to find a matching conditioner first!

Nicole Richie Eau de Parfum - This is a scent featuring notes ambers, fruits, and florals. On me, I mostly smell the amber, which I do like!  It's a bit creamy and warm, and definitely sensual. It is not a scent I would buy, but I will definitely use the sample. I'm glad it is a spray top sample, as the other kind always end up spilling.

Orlane Paris Extreme Line Reducing Lip Care - This is a hydrating lip treatment that promises to fight lines and wrinkles on the lips. I feel pretty ho-hum about this. I do like and use anti-aging products, as I am nearly 30 and terrified of aging! However, I'm not really at the point yet to really appreciate an extreme line reducing lip product. I will use it, because prevention is good and all, but it's definitely not something exciting for me and definitely not something I'll buy any time soon.

StriVectin Present Perfect - This is an anti-oxidant rich cream that promises to make the skin look younger, firmer, and healthier! I do like this brand, and I will try it out. I always appreciate a good moisturizer or treatment, though I have several I like so it will have to be pretty amazing to make me want to buy it!

Like with previous months, I am pretty ambivalent about this Sample Society box. It's definitely not terrible, and there are a couple of really great products in there. However, at this time, the fun and usefulness does not justify the price for me and my current budget. So, I did decide to go ahead and cancel again. Sample Society is really great for people who are looking for samples of luxe products, it's just not what I'm looking for right now (which is new and unique things, mostly!)

Have you tried Sample Society? What did you think of it?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bonjour Jolie - January 2014

This is a new kind of box for me. Over the last year or so, several "time of the month" boxes have popped up. Some contain just the necessities (pads, tampons, pantiliners) while others offer a bit more variety. Bonjour Jolie is one of the latter!

I have been watching these boxes and considering trying one out. I don't go to the store all that often, and when I do, I often forget feminine necessities. They're just not that fun to buy! I started to really like the idea of having them delivered to me each month...and with the added benefit of some bonus items. But there were several of these services available, and I just didn't know what to choose. After seeing reviews of Bonjour Jolie for a few months, I decided to take the plunge and try it out!

Bonjour Jolie is a mother/daughter company, which I love! The idea is to take the pain out of your monthly period, both with necessary supplies and more fun, pampering items. It is $16 a month, plus shipping and handling. Mine ended up being about $21. It ships Priority Mail and you set to arrive in time for your period each month! You can change your items or your dates at any time simply by emailing them.

Each box has 4 "categories" of items: The supplies, The Edibles, The Pampering, and The Gift.

The supplies: Bonjour Jolie offers your choice of up to 25 pads/tampons/pantyliners each month. They have quite a variety of brands and types available, and you can choose any combo you want!

 The Edibles - a few treats to enjoy. The months I have seen, they have included some sort of chocolate, often some teas, etc. Just the kinds of things I love that make me feel better during "shark week".

The Pampering - a few items to pamper and spoil you...these include bath and body products, beauty products, and other items to soothe you. You can also choose to add some Advil each month!

The Gift - This is a special item each month! It's usually something pretty, like jewelry. It is a fun surprise each month, and I've loved seeing what girls have gotten each month.

All that said, here's what I received in my first Bonjour Jolie box!

The box shipped in this sturdy box in priority mail wrapping! It arrived undamaged and well packaged. I actually really like the size of this box, and I'm saving it to keep stationery and penpal supplies in!

I love that they include a contents card! This explains all of the edible and pampering items each month. This month's card says, "Ringing in the New Year: This January, make a resolution to have your happiest year ever!" Cute.

The Supplies - I am not opening these just yet, until I need them, but in this cute zebra bag are my 25 selected pads and tampons. They had my preferred brands (ob and Always Infinity!) and I received exactly what I asked for! Very satisfied.

The Edibles - This month, we got five chocolates from Seattle Chocolates: preservative and additive free chocolate! I received Blackberry Cream and Rainer Cherry with Pecans. I can tell you that both are delicious and creamy! We also got a pack of Lorna Doone Shortbread Cookies: These are classic buttery shortbread. I actually already love these cookies, they are just amazing with tea or hot chocolate. And finally, some teas by Bentley Tea (with some splenda for sweetening). I am a tea fanatic and I was really happy to get some new teas to try!

The Pampering (part 1) - First, the spa-type products! We received a packet of Brown Sugar and Fig bath salts. These smell SO good, and are made from pure dead sea salt and organic essential and fragrance oils! I love bath salts and I am putting these aside for a stressful crampy day! We also got a Lavender and Vanilla Scented Sachet Pillow - This little sachet smells so good and calming. I've actually placed it in a little basket near my bed! We also received Moroccan Rose Petal Soaps - adorable soaps shaped like little roses! You can set these in a dish to scent the room (I actually put them in a basket with the sachet) or you can pick off petals to use to wash your hands! So cute. And finally, a Bonjour Jolie lip balm, which is made of organic oils, beeswax, butters, and peppermint. I love natural and organic balms, so I am happy to have this!

The Pampering (part 2): These are the most practical products! A Beyond BodiHeat Heating Pad - This is a non-medicated heat pad that delivers up to 12 hours of heat for sore muscles or cramps. This will really come in handy! We also received some Playtex wipes, for gentle hygiene, and the aforementioned Advil, which is a monthly necessity for me. All of these things will be very useful for me and are great additions to this box for me!

The Gift: Finally, the monthly gift - Kanzashi Hair Pins! Kanzashi is actually the art of folding fabric in to flowers! These are little hair pins from Japan. Each flower is formed and sewn by hand. These are so cute, and I love hair pins. Such an adorable gift, and I will definitely be enjoying these!

Overall, I am so happy with my first Bonjour Jolie box! I think I will really enjoy getting a box of goodies like this each month, and I am happy with the variety. Yes, I could go buy my own pads and tampons for $21 each month, but the real value of this sub for me is the combination of convenience and pampering!

What do you think about the recent popularity of "time of the month" boxes? 

Beauty Box 5 - January 2014

The mail is a mess this month! Between the snow, the ice, and the holidays, everything is still just running behind...and super frustrating.

Because of that, I was so very excited to find my Beauty Box 5, which never fails to show up bright and early in the month!

The theme for January is "Cheers to you!" and it promises to help us stick to our beauty resolutions! I made several of those this year, so I'm excited to see what's inside.

This month, the box felt nice and heavy for its tiny size! And when I opened it up, it was pretty full.  I love that this box is always a surprise for me. My other subs always get to me fairly late, and I simply cannot resist spoilers. But BB5 ships early enough that I always get my box before I am spoiled! So much fun.

This month, we got 6 products!

This is the "bonus product". It's a cute little mirror compact! It is promoting the new movie "That Awkward Moment". I actually hadn't heard about this movie yet, but now I am very interested in seeing it. Even with the movie aside, if you know me, you know my life is absolutely full of awkward moments, so this cute little mirror suits me perfectly. I was happy to get this! I've been needing one to keep in my bag! It's a great portable size (about the size of a credit card) and the plastic on the outside feels durable without being too thick or heavy. This will be great to slip into my work bag.

Jergens Daily Moisturizer - This is an everyday moisturizing lotion that provides soft skin all day long. I grew up with Jergens, it is my mom's favorite lotion! As such, I find the scent very comforting and familiar. It has a fresh scent that is not too heavy or overpowering. I love that it doesn't compete with any perfumes or fragrances I want to wear.  The formula is nice. It isn't too heavy, and it moisturizes well. It's definitely nothing super unique, but it does the job it is intended to do! This has been going to work with me! I especially love using it to keep my elbows nice and soft, with none of that scratchy winter ashyness. 

Nubar Cuticle and Nail Oil - This is a great jojoba based cuticle oil that promises to keep your hands and cuticles nice and soft and moisturized. One of my goals for this year is to grow stronger, healthier nails.  Mine are always thin and breaking, or peeling. Because of my job, my cuticles and hands in general really take a beating. This will absolutely help with that! I really love this oil! It absorbs quickly. And the smell is heavenly! To me, it smells like almonds. Love that! I like the handy size, too. This will definitely be included in my daily routine!

Epic Blend lip balm in Hemp Coconut - This is an organic lip balm that contains organic coconut oil (and flavor!) and other super healthy organic ingredients. I love a good lip balm. More importantly, I love a lip balm that does not contain petroleum, and is not tested on animals! This one fits that bill. I'm not a huge coconut fan, but this smells nice without being overwhelmingly coconutty. The texture is smooth and silky and it feels really good on the lips. I am pretty impressed and I might be buying more of these balms once I use up some of my stash! I plan to use only organic lip balms this year, as they do the job so much better than the chemical filled versions. 

H2O Plus Spa Sea Lotus Body Wash - This is a mineral-rich body wash that contains red algae, aloe, and vitamin E. It has a really fresh and crisp unisex scent that is not too heavy and makes me wish for summery days by the water! I love receiving body washes. This one is really nice! It produces a nice rich lather and it is a super refreshing scent that left my skin feeling soft and smooth. This is a great brand and I am glad to have tried this product by them.

Swissco Bath & Shower Exfoliating Gloves - These are gloves intended to buff away dead, dry skin in the shower or bath! These are my absolute favorite item in the box! I get dry, itchy skin in the winter and my pouf never seems to fully do the job.  I have been using these all weekend! I just put a little body wash on them, later up, and a few minutes later, my skin is completely soft and smooth. I think these will be a regular staple in my routine from now on!

Overall, I am super thrilled with this month's BB5. I like the variety of products, and everything will be used, happily. It's a great value for $12!

What do you think of this box? Have you tried Beauty Box 5 yet? If not, go here to sign up!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Birchbox - January 2014

2014 has not been off to the best start so far! Winter in the midwest is never fun, but this year...just wow. We're still buried under a couple of feet of snow, and this is the first day some of the roads have been passable. I've been walking to and from work (and nearly dying in the process) because our car is buried in a snow mountain. NOT FUN.

I've really needed a boost! So I was super surprised and happy when my Birchbox showed up today!

It was a heavy one! The theme this month is "Go Time", and they talk about taking on more and inspiration! Sounds good to me. Here's what I got this month!

Harvey Prince Journey - This is an intriguing scent with notes of Indian Tuberose, Japanese Orange Flower, and Freesia. I had mixed feelings about this at first. Harvey Prince is my favorite brand of perfume, and I love the sample size. It is quite floral, though, and that isn't usually my thing. I could really smell the freesia. After a minute, though, I decided I liked it, and now I kind of love it.  It's a very sweet floral, but not overly strong. I'm finding it addictive! It still doesn't take the place of my favorite Harvey Prince scents (Hello, Eau Fling, and Skinny Chic), but it's nice and I'm really glad to try it! It's a nice change of pace for me, which is great for January.

Serge Normant Dry Conditioner - This is a mist that adds shine to the ends of your hair. It's intended to go along with dry shampoo - you would use the shampoo on the roots to absorb oil and this conditioner on the ends to add moisture and shine! I actually tried the dry shampoo by this brand before and I wasn't a fan of it. This conditioner has the same musky scent as the shampoo, but sounds like it will meet my hair's needs better than the shampoo did! It's a brand new product to me. I will save this to try on a blah, no wash hair day.

Nail Rock Velvet in Navy - This is a two step textured nail system. There are a couple of different textures available...the one i received is Velvet, which offers a matte velvet finish. You paint your nailes the navy shade, then dip them in the "velvet dust". I really like textured nails and this is definitely a new and unique one for me! The navy color is pretty and different than anything I currently own. Pretty excited to try this!

Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion - This is this month's "Birchbox Find"...a mass market goodie they wanted to share. It's a hydrating moisturizer with clary sage to keep your skin nice and moist in the winter dryness. I love the brand and I'm always happy to get a pot of moisturizer so I can always have one stashed in my bag, nightstand, locker at work, etc.

Inika Mineral Eyeshadow in Eternal Marine - This is a loose mineral shadow in a beautiful silvery grey blue! It's so pretty. Below, it is swatched on bare skin with a finger.

Overall, I'm really happy with this box! I love the variety of items and the sizes are fantastic this month! Well done, BB!

What was in your box this month?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New year, new goals!

I can't believe it's 2014 already. I keep writing the wrong date on things. I can't say I'm sad to see 2013 go, as I had my fair share of misfortune and mishaps all year. Here's to hoping for a better year!

I have a few resolutions/goals for the year.

First of all, I am beginning a mega weight loss mission. I'm not imposing any grand workout goals or diet restrictions, as I want this to be something I can stick with. Instead, I'm just focusing on calories in vs. calories burned, and most importantly, keeping track of everything I eat. It's so eye opening when you see how every little thing you snack on adds up!

To go along with my weight loss goal is a no-buy. With the exception of my subs, I am not allowing myself to buy any beauty products. Instead, I am going to allow myself beauty purchases when I meet weight loss benchmarks. I haven't decided exactly what they will be, but for now I have set my first "reward" at 10 pounds.

Another goal is to use up things in my stash! I am terrible about getting something new and NEEDING to try it right away...and the number of open products I have just grows and grows, and since I'm using so many at once, it takes forever to use anything up. My goal for 2014 is to use up my open cleansers, moisturizers, serums, creams, and scrubs before I open anything new. Once that is done, I will have only one item of each type/need open at a time! This also applies to hair care products and certain types of makeup! I want to use up some of my partially used bb creams, foundations, and mascaras before trying anything new, as well.

To go with this, I intend to start monthly "empties" posts, where I share the items I've finished and my thoughts on them, as well as going back to monthly favorites posts, which I deserted a while back. I really love reading those kinds of posts and I want to go back to making them!

So, hopefully there is a lot of change on the horizon, here! What about you? Do you have any beauty resolutions or goals for the year? What kind of posts do you like to read?

Happy 2014!